New Rules Call Time on Betting Adverts During Sports Broadcasts

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has confirmed that a whistle-to-whistle ban on betting adverts will come into effect next year following a meeting with UK operators.

New betting advert rules

New rules will see betting adverts banned during TV coverage of sporting events. (Image: YouTube/PunterBase)

In announcing the new advertising rules on December 13, the IGRG put to bed earlier rumours that changes were coming. First picked up by the BBC, initial reports suggested that all UK betting operators had agreed to a ban on adverts during sporting events before the 9pm watershed.

IGRG Confirms Betting Adverts Ban

RGA CEO Clive Hawkswood told iGaming Business on December 6 that the BBC had “got it wrong” and that discussions were ongoing. A week on, the IGRG confirmed that an agreement had been reached, meaning the guidelines will come into effect in summer 2019.

“Today the gambling industry is responding positively to public concerns about the amount of gambling advertising on television before the watershed,” said John Hagan, chair of IGRG.

Under the new rules, no British broadcaster will be allowed to show betting adverts five minutes before or during live sports events. Additionally, the ban will also apply to re-runs and highlights shown before the watershed.

The only exception to the rule will be horse racing, which relies almost exclusively on revenue from UK betting brands and customers.

Collaboration Upholds Responsible Gambling Guidelines

Commenting on the new initiative, UK Gambling Commissioner (UKGC) chief executive Neil McArthur said the betting ad ban will help raise standards across the industry.

“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in demonstrating that this is an industry that is starting to listen to its customers and the wider public. Importantly, it also demonstrates the value of collaborating across companies and across sectors to make gambling fairer and safer,” McArthur said.

Prior to introducing the whistle-to-whistle ban, critics had cited the prevalence of betting adverts as a major cause of underage and problem gambling. Opposition to the practice heightened after research by The Guardian newspaper found that one in every six minutes of TV coverage during the World Cup contained gambling content.

Subsequently, the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) received 115 complaints. To address these concerns and support the UKGC’s responsible gambling narrative, operators, broadcasters and industry representatives have collaborated to define the new guidelines.

With fewer opportunities to promote their products on TV, UK betting operators may now increase their presence online via social media networks and pop-up ads.

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